Psalms of Gratitude: Ps 34: 1-2

I love the Old Testament book of Psalms. This collection of 150 poems and hymns to God is categorized as wisdom literature and for good reason. There are laments, psalms of praise, of thanksgiving, and there are historical psalms as well. Expressions to God and teachings about God, I find myself turning to the very middle of my Bible in those moments of life when it’s difficult to put my thoughts into words. Whether it’s a time of crying out to God for His mercy or for comfort or whether it’s a time of giving thanks to the Lord, I find that the Psalms always deliver.
As we enter this season of thankfulness, I’ve decided to focus on the Psalms of Gratitude. I invite you to join me in this brief exploration over the next couple of weeks.
Psalm 34
1 I will bless the LORD at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth.
2 My soul makes its boast in the LORD; let the humble hear and be glad.

David starts us off in our Psalms of Gratitude journey. And he begins with the perfect reflection: “I will bless the LORD at all times . . .”

Bless is a verb, an action word, that means to honor, to admire and to praise. Note in this verse that the object of David’s blessing is the LORD. Not what the LORD has done or has given, but the LORD Himself. There, of course, are times when thanking the Lord for his blessings upon us are appropriate. But what if there were times that, instead, we simply decided to be thankful for God? For His character. For His being. We can liken this to the challenge — to pray for God Himself and not just what He can give you. The same principle can apply here: be thankful to God for who He is and not just for how He blesses you.
David says he will do this “at all times”, that the Lord’s praise will “always” be on his lips. Don’t you love David’s ambition in this moment? Seems like an unattainable commitment for sure, but think with me for a minute and see if you can relate. There are times in the life of the believer, when we are soaking in the goodness of God, and we are simply overwhelmed with peace and gratefulness and joy and calm. These times are so fulfilling that we promise we will never go back to not blessing him, not praising him, to those times when we are too caught up in the world or other things that distract us from Him. We, too, tell ourselves that we never want to leave this heart and mindset that has us enveloped in God’s presence and power.
Thank you, David, for putting into words what we experience in those moments. The reality is, however, that life happens and our days get going and the months pass by and the years come and go. Our promise to bless the Lord can be forgotten or pushed to the side. What’s important to know in this Psalm of Thanksgiving, and perhaps is the take-away for us, is that David’s intentions were to engage in this act of blessing, and they were pure. Though his commitment to bless at all times would wane during different seasons of his life, his heart intention did not have to.
He was set on God. God–who was and is loving, gracious, holy, just, faithful, infinite, sovereign, all-knowing, all-powerful, ever-present, righteous, and unchangeable. Let’s, like David, be a people who are overwhelmingly grateful for who God is and, likewise, a people whose intentions of the heart and mind are set on Him. He will be blessed by it and so will we.

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